Orientalism and the Hebrew Imagination (Hardback)Yaron Peleg (author)
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Calling into question prevailing notions about Orientalism, Yaron Peleg shows how the paradoxical mixture of exoticism and familiarity with which Jews related to Palestine at the beginning of the twentieth century shaped the legacy of Zionism. In Peleg's view, the tension between romancing the East and colonizing it inspired a revolutionary reform that radically changed Jewish thought during the Hebrew Revival that took place between 1900 and 1930.
Orientalism and the Hebrew Imagination introduces a fresh voice to the contentious debate over the concept of Orientalism. Zionism has often been labeled a Western colonial movement that sought to displace and silence Palestinian Arabs. Based on his readings of key texts, Peleg asserts that early Zionists were inspired by Palestinian Arab culture, which in turn helped mold modern Jewish gender, identity, and culture.
Peleg begins with the new ways in which the lands of the Bible are formulated as a modern "Orient" in David Frishman's Bamidbar. He continues by showing how in The Sons of Arabia, Moshe Smilansky laid the basis for the literary construction of the "New Jew," modeled after Palestinian Arabs. Peleg concludes with a discussion of L. A. Arielli's 1913 play Allah Karim! in which both the promise and the problems of the Land of Israel as "Orient" marked the end of Hebrew Orientalism as a viable cultural option.
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Number of pages: 166
Weight: 397 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 19 mm
"Peleg reframes the debate on Orientalism and Zionism in refreshing new directions, demanding a new look at traditional conceptions of Orientalism in general and its specific application to Zionism and diaspora Jewry."-- Tzvi Kahn * Middle East Quarterly *
"Orientalism and the Hebrew Imagination brings a voice of moderation, subtlety, and analytical sharpness to an area of academic discourse that too often is strident, inflamed, or dogmatic. Yaron Peleg explains how literature was a powerful force in creating a new Jewish culture at the turn of the twentieth century. The texts he examines illuminate major social upheavals and political developments."-- Naomi Sokoloff, Samuel and Althea Stroum Endowed Chair in Jewish Studies, University of Washington
"Yaron Peleg offers a nuanced reading of the tension between fascination with the East and a need to distance from it, a tension that complicated the Zionist attitude toward homeland and Arabs. In Orientalism and the Hebrew Imagination, he draws together early modern Jewish nationalism, Zionist culture and philosophy, and major literary figures in a fluent narrative."-- Nancy E. Berg, Washington University in St. Louis
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